In the past, the majority of the focus of soccer fans in the United States has been the Premier League. The entertainment is incredible- the competitiveness is almost unmatched in any other soccer league in the world. With Real Madrid and Barcelona now being able to field fantasy XI’s, a league which already lacks parity many believe will become even less competitive. But with Atletico’s recent win over Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup, it may be more competitive than one might first think. Plus, there’s plenty of storylines and teams which all give soccer fans reason to follow La Liga. Here’s a look at five of them.
We all are passionate about soccer, we live and breathe it. And it is characters like Simeone that make us love the sport. Seeing the passion and joy he brings when he coaches on the pitch brings a smile to all soccer fans’ faces. Now, sometimes he steps out of line, like when he was sent off in the Super Cup, but the energy brings to the field just adds a level of entertainment to the La Liga, similar to Jurgen Klopp in the Bundesliga, and that’s something the Premier League doesn’t have.
Fourth Place in La Liga has thrown up some amazing underdog stories in recent La Liga seasons- Malaga, Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao. Now, one might say these teams can’t compete with the top two; only the fourth place race being important isn’t not enough to make a league exciting. But, everyone loves an underdog story, and La Liga has teams that had to overcome adversity to be successful, who have playing philosophies, who aren’t big teams, all being able to challenge for a Champions League place.
On the ground
You will likely never see a team in La Liga resorting to playing long balls. La Liga teams love to play with the ball on the ground, and emphasize technical ability. It may not be as end to end as the Premiership, but La Liga is excellent in wanting to play an attacking style and wanting to play in an entertaining way.
Next Atletico Madrid?
No one thought Atletico Madrid was even in contention to win the La Liga title at the beginning of last season. But by getting the most out of their players, having passion, and using a formation that matches their capabilities, and without using tons of money, they were able to win La Liga. So, despite all their money, it is quite possible to take the title off of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Athletic Bilbao are a team on the up, and should be considered dark horses for the title. Sevilla, although they sell their best players, were able to win the Europa League last year and could also be considered. Real Sociedad, Valencia, and Villareal are there or thereabouts as well. None of them are serious title contenders, but it is quite possible one of them could be in with a shout in March and by then you never know what can happen.
A town of 27,000 people, trying to have a team in the top flight for the first time. Completely debt free, yet having to make around 2.3 million dollars to be able to play in La Liga. People stepped in from all around the world in order to buy shares and help the club get that amount three weeks before they had to. The help included the likes of former Eibar loanees Xabi Alonso and David Silva. I said everyone loves underdog stories, and Eibar is the classic one.
Their stadium looks like an amateur pitch; people can watch the games from their house. Their capacity will only be 6,800 for their first season in La Liga. They started out in this summer 16 players out of the 24 required to be in a La Liga squad, as they are always getting players on loan. In an era where Real Madrid and Barcelona take all the money from the TV deals, Eibar will struggle to remain in the top division. They will have a lot to overcome if they are to be successful, but they can be. Eibar alone are a huge reason to watch La Liga this season.